The Nigerian music industry has quite a number of veterans and one of them is guitar maestro, Sir Victor Uwaifo. And today, March 1, the legendary musician turns 76 with over 60 years experience.
Sir Victor Uwaifo was born March 1, 1941 in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, and obtained his secondary school education at the Western Boys’ High School, Benin and St Gregory’s College, Lagos, between 1957 and 1961.
He began playing guitar when he was 12 years old and his earliest popular music influences derived from listening to records of Spanish and Latin American music.
He also studied graphics at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos between 1961 and 1963.
After leaving Benin, Uwaifo continued playing music at St Gregory’s, Lagos, a contemporary of Segun Bucknor, both individuals were among the leading Lagos high school bandleaders. During school holidays and weekends, he jammed with Olaiya‘s All Stars band.
Uwaifo also briefly worked with Stephen Osadebe and Fred Coker before he formed Melody Maestros in 1965. The band released ‘Joromi’ which became a huge hit in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.
Uwaifo made history in Nigeria when he won the first Golden record in Nigeria, West Africa and Africa (presented by Philips, West Africa) for his song ‘Joromi’ in 1996. Uwaifo has a total of 12 golden records to date.
During a 2015 interview with Thenetng, the musician warned those saying he should retire from music to bury the thoughts as he said he isn’t about to go the way of retirement anytime soon.
‘At 74, I am just starting, I will soon be 75 but I intend doing this till I’m 90 or even more. It is even offensive asking me if I would retire soon,’ he said.
Speaking further, the ‘Joromi’ singer said: ‘I was 12 when I started stringing the guitar because I discovered music quite early. Although my parents were not comfortable with me doing music because they wanted me to focus on my studies. I however believe when you discover your talent doesn’t matter but (it’s) how you are able to utilise.’
His song ‘Joromi has legendary status among his fans and his performances are characterised by his ability to play the guitar with both his feet and also his tongue.
Now, that’s legendary stuff.
Happy birthday, Sir Victor Uwaifo!